US senator: Assaults in military let culture of abuse continue

West Point case latest in a series of claims

WASHINGTON - A senator says repeated sexual assaults in the military allow a culture of abuse to continue.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York addressed the latest case at West Point. An Army sergeant is charged with secretly taking pictures and video of at least a dozen women at the Army academy.

Gillibrand tells NBC "Today" that when sexual assault happens repeatedly, with no accountability, "it allows the culture to continue."

Gillibrand is on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She says sexual assault should be reported outside the chain of command, directly to a military prosecutor, and victims need to know justice is possible.

The West Point case is just the latest in a series. A Pentagon report says as many as 26,000 service members may have been sexually assaulted last year.

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